So you weren't selected for the Basic Income Scheme for Arts, now what? -

So you weren’t selected for the Basic Income Scheme for Arts, now what?

September 9, 2022

The announcement of the pilot scheme generated a lot of positivity and excitement earlier this year. The Basic Income for Arts scheme is a wonderful boost for the sector after a challenging few years. This research project has the potential to change the landscape of arts professionals for generations to come. So, if you submitted an application, congratulations! You’ve contributed to the success of this project already

If you applied and didn’t get it here’s what you MUST do next:

Feel Disappointed

It’s natural to feel disappointed or upset. To be included and receive the funds was something you had allowed yourself to look forward to. What’s very important now though, is to not let the disappointment turn into disillusion or loss of motivation. Feel your disappointment  but only briefly. Hanging on to the negativity of not receiving it will hamper your art business’ progress. It’s understandable that you will feel disappointed not to have been selected but now is the time to push forward with your other plans for growing your practice and generating sales.


This is a great lesson in not putting all your eggs in one basket. If you were relying solely on being selected for the scheme and have made no other plans you’ll have learned the hard way to not do that.

If you are one of the 1000 artists selected for the control group, it’s a good example of how making an application for any award or fund can lead to alternative opportunities. This is your opportunity to continue to contribute to the advancement of the scheme. You can and should engage in this vital role.

Take a good look at the correspondence you received. What feedback can you glean from it that you can use to your advantage? Many rejection letters seem to have highlighted the fact that the artist had qualified but wasn’t selected. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and GOOD information. It means that the only thing that went against you was simply a matter of numbers, not that you didn’t complete the application correctly or didn’t meet the criteria. This means that there is absolutely no reason not to try again next time.

If the reason for rejection was something else, take the feedback on board and be sure not to make the same mistake next time.


-This was/is a unique opportunity afforded to artists to support their creative practice. Unique to Ireland and unique to the sector. Similar schemes don’t exist everywhere else and where they do, the arts community is much larger making competition greater. Also, other professions rarely get the same kind of supports offered to them. When these schemes or similar arise, take full advantage, get your hat in the ring while maintaining awareness of the fortunate position made available to you.

-To stand back and take an objective look at the situation. There were funds allocated for a total of 2000 artists. 9000 artists applied, 8200 of those were deemed eligible, the remainder had to be discarded for various reasons some of which were simple omissions or mistakes. Demand was always going to outweigh supply. This was a pilot scheme, the next round will likely yield a larger allocation of places.

-The basic income for arts is a research scheme, it’s still in the very early stages. If you feel the criteria for eligibility or selection was lacking you might be right but there is time and room for improvement.

Of the awards issued, the bulk (707) went to visual artists, so your peers benefited the most. This bodes well for you securing a space on future iterations of the scheme.

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

You played a vital role in communicating to the government the need and demand for a permanent scheme of this nature by submitting your application for the basic income for arts scheme. You have contributed to the sector as a whole and done something very valuable for your community.

About 2020 Curates Creative Careers

2020 Curates Creative Careers provides resources, support and advice for visual artists who want to build successful businesses from their artistic practices. There are a variety of services available including art business mentoring, courses, workshops and art business advice intensives. Click here to learn more about all the options and join our mailing list here for monthly free resources.

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  1. Felicia says:

    Thank you , I was definitely disappointed but feel better fer reading this. 😊

  2. John Adams says:

    I have been a full time visual artist and arts events organizer since 1990. I have applied for many arts council grants and bursary’s. I never received a penny from the arts council. Only rejection. I feel like I have been blacklisted because I have been a campaigner for artists rights.

    Recently I applied for the Covid 19 artists payment of €3000. ARTISTS WERE THE ONLY PROFESSION IN IRELAND WHO WERE JUDGED ON THEIR CAREER TO GET A COVID PAYMENT. The selection process was over three weeks 970 artists applied. Only 300 got the payment. The 670 of us who didn’t get it were sent a humiliating letter judging our art work, our engagement with the public and our track record as an artist. We were given humiliating points out of ten for each of these judgements. This is how the arts council treats artists they have no respect or empathy for artists. They have no understanding of how sensitive artists are. They have set up the whole system as a begging organization that artists have to be good at filling out forms and writing about their work, which many artists such as myself are no good at and hate doing. The arts council seems to be set up be administrators for administrators. It’s no
    wonder the arts council are despised by so many artists.
    I will never apply for humiliation again I have not applied for the artists payment I will never have any dealings with the government again as they have disrespected me too many times.
    I wrote to Catherine Martin the arts minister to complain about how artists were treated during the Covid payment scheme. It took three letters and three phone calls to her office to get her to reply her eventual reply was equally humiliating. She suggested I do some up-skilling maybe do something else. It’s just the most ignorant reply I ever received.
    Dealing with the Arts Council and curators and arts administrators has been a nightmare for me. It has been rejection every time.
    I am dissatisfied and disillusioned with the arts and the people running the arts. Even the artists representative group NCFA has been hijacked by the powerful administrators. They run the arts and will not let artists onto any important arts committees they get all the funding and decide where it gets spent. Many of them spend it on feeding themselves in expensive restaurants.

    I will continue to be an artist but I will have no dealings with any government schemes or organizations. They are a disgrace as are the politicians who are totally ignorant and uninterested in the arts.

    John Adams
    Website –
    Email –
    Mob – 0877804866